M&S changes name of Porn Star Martini after complaint

Marks & Spencer is changing the name of its Porn Star Martini tinned drink following an upheld complaint that it would "open the floodgates" to other suggestively-titled cocktails.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 11:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 11:16 am
(Getty Images/PA)

The retailer is renaming its version of the popular cocktail Passion Star Martini after a ruling found the original title linked the alcoholic product to sexual success.

Industry body the Portman Group's independent complaints panel noted that as other retailers and online cocktail recipes referred to the drink by names such as passion fruit martini, M&S did not need to use the Porn Star Martini title.

An M&S spokeswoman said: "Porn Star Martini is a common name for a passion fruit cocktail drink.

"Our product launched in September 2018 and quickly became one of our most popular cocktails. However as a Portman Group co-signatory, we respect the ruling and will be changing the name to Passion Star Martini."

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A Portman Group spokeswoman said: "This decision by the Independent Complaints Panel reminds producers that they should always steer away from using imagery or names that are associated with sexual activity in marketing and labelling.

"Producers should think carefully about what is conveyed by the overall impression of the product and speak to our advisory service if in any doubt. We are pleased that the Marks and Spencer Group have been working with us to amend the name of the product."

The launch of the cocktail last year was met with outrage by some, who accused the retailer of "normalising porn".

Feminist campaign group Object accused M&S of sending "mixed messages", while parents on Mumsnet said they did not want to explain what a porn star is to their children while food shopping at M&S.

In November 2018, it was reported by on-trade specialist CGA Strategy that the porn star martini was the most ordered cocktail in UK restaurants, bars and pubs.

However, the Portman Group's panel found the title could not be considered the customary name for the vodka-based passion fruit cocktail, also stating that M&S's version did not include any sparkling wine, usually considered a principle ingredient.

It noted other businesses, for example BBC Good Food, had replaced the term "porn star" with "passion fruit" in a "conscious effort to remove the phrase from the title of the cocktail".

By Josie Clarke, PA Consumer Affairs Correspondent